We are experienced food-centric travelers, yet were amazed at the variety and quality of offerings here, which eclipsed those of street food markets we'd visited in Beijing, Shanghai, and Yunnan Province. Must-try specialties dating from the days of the Silk Road include shi zi bing, (persimmon cakes)and yangrou paomo, a (lamb soup with dumpling-like bits of bread), and biang biang noodles, (onomatopoeiacally named for the sound they make hitting the table as they are stretched.) Piles of dried dates, warm vats of walnuts, and fiery chile peanuts make for great snacking. Our guide to this and the principal Xi'an attractions was Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org), a delightful woman with excellent English and a great deal of knowledge about the specialties of Shanxi province. If street food is not your thing, have her take you to Defachang Dumpling Restaurant (profiled on npr 8/29/13) and dig into her explanation of their dumpling feast.
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